He led the nation in rushing (1,801 yards and 18 touchdowns) as a freshman, but only ran for 361 yards last season because of a nagging hamstring injury and the return of Patrick Cobbs to the lineup. Thomas isn't the biggest back in the country (5- 11, 195 pounds), but he's one of the fastest.
2 of 10AP
Tommy Blake, DE
A former running back, Blake is a bit undersized (6- 3, 250), but he's a force to be reckoned with. He had 59 tackles, seven sacks and 13 1/2 tackles for loss by using his outstanding athleticism. Blake and Chase Ortiz make up one of the nation's best book-end combos.
3 of 10AP
Jeff Rowe, QB
With 2,925 yards passing and 10 touchdowns and 244 yards rushing yards and six touchdowns, Rowe finished second in the WAC in total yards. At 6-5, 225 pounds, Rowe has a cannon arm and great mobility.
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Paul Smith, QB
Paul Smith, QB, Tulsa: As a true sophomore, Smith showed poise and efficiency beyond his years. The 6- 2, 193-pound QB threw for 2,847 yards and 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions and added six rushing touchdowns.
5 of 10Peter Read Miller/SI
John Beck, QB
Continuing in a long line of prolific Cougar signal-callers, Beck led the Mountain West with 3,709 yards passing -- including seven games of at least 300 yards -- and 27 touchdowns. In a loss to TCU, Beck threw for 517 yards and five touchdowns.
6 of 10Robert Barclay/CMU
Dan Bazuin, DE
He enjoyed a monster junior season, compiling 16 sacks, 26 1/2 tackles for loss (tops in the nation) and five forced fumbles. A nightmare on the pass rush, Bazuin, at 6-3, has bulked up to 269 pounds, enough to become a solid run stopper.
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Kevin Kolb, QB
A starter since day one at Houston, Kolb has pumped out 9,752 yards and 55 touchdowns through the air and run for 17 touchdowns over the last three seasons. With a deep receiving corps returning, this should be Kolb's best season yet. He needs to throw for 3,387 yards to become C-USA's all-time leading passer.
8 of 10Justin Kase Conder/Fresno State
Kyle Young, C
One of the nation's finest centers headlines the WAC's best offensive line and calls all of the group's pass protection and run schemes. The 6- 6, 330-pounder has started 39 consecutive games at center, but he may play guard at the next level.
9 of 10George Frey/Getty Images
Eric Weddle, S/CB
The ultra-versatile 6-foot, 200-pounder can play any position in the secondary, and he'll play strong safety this season. Fabulous in coverage, Weddle has a flair for the big play and can terrorize quarterbacks on the blitz. His crowning achievement last year was shutting down Georgia Tech star WR Calvin Johnson in the Emerald Bowl.
10 of 10Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
Garrett Wolfe, RB
At 5-foot-7, 176 pounds, Wolfe doesn't seem like the most imposing force upon first glance. But don't tell that to any team that has faced the Huskies speedy tailback, who has rushed for 3,236 yards in the last two seasons. In last year's opener, Wolfe ran for 176 yards against Michigan in the Big House, including a 76-yard TD scamper.
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